Global metallurgical coal short-term outlook March 2021: Australian HCC prices retreat on razor thin trading
Prices for spot PLV cargoes steadily declined over March. A dearth of Australian cargo sales plagued the premium HCC market over the month. Without China to rely on, HCC producers in Australia looked to India to shore up the spot trade to no avail. Meanwhile, above average ocean freight rates only added to margin erosion. Despite the drop in CFR China and domestic prices, ex-Australian coal demand in China remains strong however we expect downward risk to overall seaborne coal imports from pressures to lower steel production. Mongolian landborne coal deliveries remain muted but for how long? Outside of China, Indian restocking demand leading up to the monsoon season remains crucial to support premium HCC price levels. Europe and Brazil steel demand remains strong and annual coal contracts are settled but new Covid outbreaks threaten momentum.